DBE warns against school disruptions as schools reopen

empty classrooms

The Department appealed to SGBs to refrain from taking matters into their own hands. Picture: African News Agency (ANA).

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has appealed to parents, learners and communities to protect schools against disruptions as grade 7 learners resume classes on Tuesday.

The department is phasing in learning amid the pandemic. However, some parents communities and SGBs are not happy with schools reopening, saying the risk of their children contracting Covid-19 remains too great. And some schools are not ready with preventative measures.

“The Department has become aware of attempts made by some members of School Governing Bodies (SGBs) around the country to close schools and disrupt learning.

“In Gauteng, SGB members disrupted 38 schools in Daveyton/Etwatwa, 37 schools in Tsakane, and eight schools in KwaThema on Thursday.

“There are reports of the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) also disrupting schools across the province.

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“We would like to remind all members of SGBs that the closing of schools remains a legal function reserved for the provincial Head of Department and when members of an SGB act outside the legal dictates of their role and function, they risk the immediate disbandment of the entire SBG,” said the department.

The Council of Education Ministers is on record as having warned that any individual or group who disrupts learning at schools will be reported to the authorities and the Department reserves the right to charge them with violation of the South African Schools Act (Act no. 84 of 1996). 

The department said the roles and functions of SGBs, as defined by the Schools act, are to ensure that the school is governed in the best interest of all the stakeholders, and that all SGB members must always put the best interest of the school before any personal interests. 

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The SGB may apply to the Head of Department, in writing requesting to be allocated any of the following functions – 

·       To maintain and improve the school’s property, buildings, and grounds 

·       To buy textbooks, educational materials, and equipment for the school 

·       To pay for services rendered to the school. 

The Department appealed to SGBs to refrain from taking matters into their own hands.